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his other accomplishments, the address com-, a delightful simplicity of belief; pitied them ; pletely to govern his master, all was soon in relieved them ; fought their battles at the the smoothest track possible. Neither, uni- bench and the vestry, and got into two or versal genius though he were, was Bill Jones three scrapes with constables and magistrates, at all disdainful of female assistance, or averse by the activity of his protection. Only one to the theory of a division of labour. Under counterfeit sailor with a sham wooden-leg, he his wise direction and discreet patronage, a found out at a question, and, by aid of Bill peace was patched up between the admiral Jones, ducked in the horse-pond, for an imand bis rebellious handmaids. A general am- postor, till the unlucky wretch, who was, as nesty was proclaimed, with the solitary ex- the worthy seaman suspected, totally unused ception of an old crone of a she-cook, who to the water, a thorough land-lubber, was had, on some occasion of culinary interfer- nearly drowned ; an adventure which turned ence, turned her master out of his own kitch- out the luckiest of his life, he having carried en, and garnished Bill Jones's jacket with an his case to an attorney, who forced the adunseemly rag yclept a dish-clout. She was miral to pay fifty pounds for the exploit. dismissed by mutual consent; and Sally the Our good veteran was equally popular kitchenmaid, a pretty black-eyed girl, promo- amongst the gentry of the neighbourhood. ted to the vacant post, which she filled with His own hospitality was irresistible, and his eminent ability.
. frankness and simplicity, mixed with a sort Soothed, guided, and humoured by his of petulant vivacity, combined to make him trusty adherent, and influenced perhaps a lit- a most welcome relief to the dulness of a tle by the force of example and the effect of country dinner party. He enjoyed society the land breeze, which he had never breathed extremely, and even had a spare bed erected so long before, our worthy veteran soon began. for company; moved thereunto by an accident to show symptoms of a man of this world. which befel the fat Rector of Kinton, who The earth became, so to say, his native ele- having unfortunately consented to sleep at ment. He took to gardening, to farming, for Hannonby one wet night, had alarmed the which Bill Jones had also a taste; set free whole house, and nearly broken his own his prisoners in the basse-cour, to the unutter- neck, by a fall from his hammock. The adable glorification and crowing of cock and hen, miral would have put up twenty spare beds, and cackling and gabbling of goose and tur- if he could have been sure of filling them, key, and enlarged his own walk from pacing for besides his natural sociability, he was, it backwards and forwards in the dining-room, must be confessed, in spite of his farming, followed by his old shipmates, a Newfoundland and gardening, and keeping a log-book, a dog and a tame goat, into a stroll round his good deal at a loss how to fill up his time. own grounds, to the great delight of those His reading was none of the most extenfaithful attendants. He even talked of going sive: Robinson Crusoe, the Naval Chronicle, pheasant shooting, bought a hunter, and was Southey's admirable life of Nelson, and Smolonly saved from following the fox-hounds by ac- let's novels, formed the greater part of his cidentally taking up Peregrine Pickle, which, library; and for other books he cared little ; by a kind of Sortes Virgilianæ, opened on the though he liked well enough to pore over mischances of Lieutenant Hatchway and maps and charts, and to look at modern voyCommodore Trunnion in a similar expedi- ages, especially if written by landsmen or very fine thing - no denying that! but why, ladyism, and entirely unaccomplished, if she not have fought out the quarrel by sea ?” could be called so, who joined to the most
ladies; and his remarks on those occasions After this warning which he considered as often displayed a talent for criticism, which, nothing less than providential, he relinquished under different circumstances, might have any attempt at mounting that formidable ani- ripened into a very considerable reviewer. mal, a horse, but having found his land legs, For the rest, he was a most kind and exhe was afoot all day long in his farm or his cellent person, although a little testy and not garden, setting people to rights in all quarters, a little absolute; and a capital disciplinarian, and keeping up the place with the same scru- although addicted to the reverse sins of makpulous nicety that he was wont to bestow on ing other people tipsy whilst he kept himself the planks and rigging of his dear Mermaiden. sober, and of sending forth oaths in volleys, Amongst the country people, he soon became whilst he suffered none other to swear. He popular. They liked the testy little gentle- had besides a few prejudices incident to his man, who dispensed his beer and grog so condition-loved his country to the point of bountifully, and talked to them so freely. He hating all the rest of the world, especially would have his own way, to be sure, but then the French; and regarded his own profession he paid for it; besides, he entered into their with a pride which made him intolerant of tastes and amusements, promoted May-games, every other. To the army he had an intense revels, and other country sports, patronized and growing hatred, much augmented since dancing-dogs and monkeys, and bespoke plays victory upon victory had deprived him of the in barns. Above all, he had an exceeding comfortable feeling of scorn. The battle of partiality to vagrants, strollers, gipsies, and Waterloo fairly posed him. “To be sure to such like persons ; listened to their tales with / have drubbed the French was a fine thing-a
I made no mention of Mrs. Floyd in enu elegant manners a highly-cultivated undermerating the admiral's domestic arrangements, standing, and a remarkable talent for conversabecause, sooth to say, no one could have less tion. Nothing could exceed the fascination concern in them than that good lady. She of her delicate and poignant raillery, her voice had not been Mrs. Floyd for five-and-twenty and smile were so sweet, and her wit so light years without thoroughly understanding her and glancing. She had the still rarer merit husband's despotic humour, and her own light of being either entirely free from vanity, or and happy temper enabled her to conform to of keeping it in such good order, that it never it without the slightest appearance of reluc- appeared in look or word. Conversation, much tance or discontent. She liked to be managed as she excelled in it, was not necessary to her, -it saved her trouble. She turned out to be as it is to most eminent talkers. I think she Irish as I had suspected. The admiral, who enjoyed quiet observation, full as much, if not had reached the age of forty without betray- more; and at such times there was something ing the slightest symptom of matrimony, had, of good-humoured malice in her bright hazel during a sojourn in Cork Harbour, fallen in eye, that spoke more than she ever allowed love with her, then a buxom widow, and mar- her tongue to utter. Her father's odd ways,' ried her in something less than three weeks for instance, and her mother's odd speeclres, after their acquaintance began, chiefly moved and her sister's lack-a-daisicalness, amused to that unexpected proceeding by the firmness her rather more than they ought to have done;' with which she bore a salute from the Lord but she had never lived with them, having: Lieutenant, which threw half the ladies on been brought up by an aunt who had recently | board into hysterics.
died leaving her a splendid fortune; and even Mrs. Floyd was indeed as gallant a woman now that she had come to reside at home, was as ever stood fire. Her first husband had treated by her parents, although very kindly, been an officer in the army, and she had fol- rather as an honoured guest than as a cherlowed the camp during two campaigns; had ished daughter. been in one baitle and several skirmishes, and Anne Floyd was a sweet creature in spite had been taken and re-taken with the carriages of a little over-acuteness. I used to think she and baggage, without betraying the slightest wanted nothing but falling in love to soften symptom of fear. Her naval career did not her proud spirit, and tame her bright eye; but shame her military reputation. She lived falling in love was quite out of her way-she chiefly on board, adopted sea phrases and sea had the unfortunate distrust of an heiress, sacustoms, and but for the petticoat might have tiated with professions of attachment, and sus. passed for a sailor herself.
pecting every man of wooing her fortune raAnd of all the sailors that ever lived, she ther than herself. By dint of hearing exag. was the merriest, the most generous, the most gerated praise of her beauty, she had even unselfish; the very kindest of that kindest come to think herself plain ; perhaps another race! There was no getting away from her circumstance a little contributed to this perhearty hospitality, no escaping her prodigal- suasion-she was said to be, and undoubtedly ity of presents. It was dangerous to praise was, remarkably like her father. There is no or even to approve of any thing belonging to accounting for the strange freaks that nature herself in her hearing; if it had been the plays in the matter of family likeness. The carpet under her feet, or the shawl on her admiral was certainly as ugly a little man as shoulders, either would instantly have been one should see in a summer day, and Anne stripped off to offer. Then her exquisite was as certainly a very pretty young woman : good-humour! Coarse and boisterous she yet it was quite impossible to see them togecertainly was, and terribly Irish; but the se-ther and not be struck with the extreme and verest stickler for female decorum, the nicest even absurd resemblance between his old batcritic of female manners, would have been tered face and her bright and sparkling coundisarmed by the contagion of Mrs. Floyd's tenance. To have been so like my good friend good-humour.
the admiral, might have cured a lighter spirit My chief friend and favourite of the fam- of vanity. ily was, however, one who hardly seemed to Julia, the younger and favourite daughter, belong to it-Anne, the eldest daughter. I was a fine tall handsome girl of nineteen, just liked her even better than I did her father and what her mother must have been at the same mother, although for very different qualities. age; she had been entirely brought up by | She was " inland bred," and combined in her- Mrs. Floyd, except when deposited from time self sufficient self-possession and knowledge to time in various country boarding-schools, of the world, of literature, and of society, to whilst that good lady enjoyed the pleasure of have set up the whole house, provided it had a cruise. Miss Julia exhibited the not unbeen possible to supply their deficiency from common phenomenon of having imbibed the her superabundance; she was three or four- opposite faults to those of her instructress, and-twenty, too, past the age of mere young- and was soft, mincing, languid, affected, and
full of airs and graces of the very worst sort; or reclined in a picturesque attitude expecting but I don't know that she was much more ig- to be made love to; and Captain Claremont, norant and silly than a girl of nineteen, with who had never seen either sister before, pleased a neglected education, must needs be; and with Julia's beauty, and a little alarmed at she had the farther excuse of being a spoiled Anne's wit, appeared in a fair way of losing child. Her father doated upon her, and his heart in the proper quarter. In short, the thought her the most accomplished young firtation seemed going on very prosperously; woman of the age; for certain, she could play and the admiral in high glee, vented divers a little, and sing a little, and paint a little, sea jokes on the supposed lovers, and chuckled and talk a little very bad French, and dance over the matter to Bill Jones, who winked and and dress a great deal. She had also culti- grinned and nodded responsively. vated her mind by reading all the love-stories After a few weeks that sagacious adherent and small poetry that came in her way; cor- began to demur-" Things seemed," as he responded largely with half-a-dozen bosom observed, " rather at a stand-still — the courtfriends picked up at her different seminaries : ship was a deal slacker, and his honour, the and even aspired to the character of authoress, captain, had talked of heaving anchor, and having actually perpetrated a sonnet to the sailing off for Lincolnshire.” To this the moon, which sonnet, contrary to the well- admiral answered nothing but “tush !" and known recipe of Boileau and the ordinary “pshaw !" and as the captain actually relinpractice of all nations, contained eighteen quished, with very little pressing, his design lines, four quatrains, and a couplet; a prodi- of leaving Hannonby, Bill Jones's suspicions gality of words which the fair poetess endea- did seem a little super-subtle. Bill, howvoured to counterbalance by a corresponding ever, at the end of ten days, retained his sparingness of idea. There was no harm in opinion. “ For certain," he said, “ Miss Julia Julia, poor thing, with all her affectation. had all the signs of liking upon her, and moped She was really warm-hearted and well-tem- and hung her head and talked to herself like pered, and might have improved under her the negro who drowned himself for love on sister's kind and judicious management, but board the Mermaiden; and the captain, he for a small accident which interrupted the could not say but he might be in love - he family harmony, and eventually occasioned was very much fallen away since he had been their removal from Hannonby.
in that latitude - had lost his spunk, and was The admiral, always addicted to favourit- become extraordinarily forgetsome,-he might ism, had had under his protection, from boy be in love, likely enough, but not with Miss hood to manhood, one youth of remarkable Julia - he was sure to sheer away from her; promise. He had been his first-lieutenant on never spoke to her at breakfast or dinner, and board the Mermaiden, and was now, at three-would tack a hundred ways not to meet her, and-twenty, a master and commander; which whilst he was always following in the wake promotion, although it ejected him from that of Miss Anne; and she (Miss Julia) had taken paragon of frigates, the young captain did not to writing long letters again, and to walking seem to think so great an evil as the admiral the terrace between the watches, and did not had found his advancement. He was invited seem to care for the captain. He could not to the White House forthwith; and the gal- make the matter out. Miss Anne, indeed”lant veteran, who seldom took the trouble to Here the admiral, to whom the possibility of conceal any of his purposes, soon announced a failure in his favourite scheme had never that Captain Claremont was his intended son- occurred, interrupted his confidant by a thouin-law, and that Miss Julia was the destined sand exclamations of "ass! blockhead! lubbride.
ber!” to which tender appellations, that faithThe gentleman arrived, and did as much ful satellite made no other reply than a shake honour to the admiral's taste as his other fa- of the head as comprehensive as Lord Burvourite Bill Jones. Captain Claremont was leighi's. really a very fine young man, with the best. The next morning vindicated Bill's sagacipart of beauty, figure and countenance, and a ty. Anne, who, for obvious reasons, had taken delightful mixture of frankness and feeling, of the task upon herself, communicated to her spirit and gaiety, in his open and gentlemanly father that Captain Claremont had proposed manners; he was, at a word, just the image to her, and that she had accepted his offer. that one conjures up when thinking of a naval | The admiral was furious, but Anne, though officer. His presence added greatly to the very mild, was very firm ; she would not give enjoyment of the family; the admiral fought up her lover, nor would her lover relinquish his battles over again," and so did his lady, her; and Julia, when appealed to, asserted her who talked and laughed all day long: Anne female privilege of white-lying, and declared, watched the proceedings with evident amuse- that if there was not another man in the world, ment, and looked even archer than usual; she would never have married Captain Clarewhilst Julia, the heroine of the scene, behaved mont. The admiral, thwarted by every body, as is customary in such cases, walked about and compelled to submit for the first time in exquisitely dressed, with a book in her hand, I his life (except in the affair of his promotion and that of the ducked sailor), stormed, and, ings behind, and an old-fashioned garden with swore, and scolded all round, and refused to its rows of espaliers, its wide flower-borders, be pacified ; Mrs. Floyd, to whom his fiat had and its close filbert-walk, stretching like a seemed like fate, was frightened at the gene- cape into the waters, the strawberry beds, ral temerity, and vented her unusual discom- sloping into the very stream ; so that the cows, fort in scolding too; Anne took refuge in the which, in sultry weather, came down by twos house of a friend; and poor Julia, rejected by and by threes, from the opposite meadows, to one party and lectured by the other, comforted cool themselves in the water, could almost herself by running away, one fine night, with crop the leaves as they stood. a young officer of dragoons, with whom she In my mind, that was the pleasanter scene had had an off-and-on correspondence for a of the two; but such could hardly have been twelvemonth. This elopement was the cope- the general opinion, since nine out of ten passstone of the admiral's misfortunes; he took a ers-by never pouchsafed a glance at the great hatred to Hannonby, and left it forth with; and farm, but kept their eyes steadily fixed on the it seemed as if he had left his anger behind mill; perhaps to look at the old buildings, him, for the next tidings we heard of the perhaps at the miller's young daughter. Floyds, Julia and her spouse were forgiven Katy Dawson was accounted by common in spite of his soldiership, and the match had consent the prettiest girl in the parish. Few turned out far better than might have been male critics in beauty would be sure to limit expected ; and Anne and her captain were in the commendation by asserting that her feahigh favour, and the admiral gaily anticipat-tures were irregular, that she had not a good ing a flag-ship and a war, and the delight of feature in her face, and so forth; but these rebringing up his grandsons to be the future or- marks were always made in her absence, and naments of the British navy.
no sooner did she appear than even her critics felt the power of her exceeding loveliness. It was the Hebe look of youth and health, the sweet and joyous expression, and above all,
the unrivalled brilliancy of colouring, that THE QUEEN OF THE MEADOW. made Katy's face, with all its faults, so plea
sant to look upon. A complexion of the In a winding unfrequented road, on the purest white, a coral lip, and a cheek like the south side of our Village, close to a low, two-pear, her namesake, “ on the side that's next arched bridge, thrown across a stream of more the sun," were relieved by rich curls of brown beauty than consequence, stood the small ir- hair, of the deep yet delicate hue that one regular dwelling, and the picturesque build sometimes finds in the ripest and latest hazelings of Hatherford Mill. It was a pretty nut of the season. Her figure was well suited scene on a summer afternoon, was that old to her blossomy countenance, round, short, and mill, with its strong lights and shadows, its childlike; add to this, “a pretty foot, a merry low-browed cottage covered with the cluster- glance, a passing pleasing tongue," and no ing Pyracantha, and the clear brook which, wonder that Katy was the belle of the village. after dashing, and foaming, and brawling, and But gay and smiling though she were, the playing off all the airs of a mountain river, fair maid of the mill was little accessible to while pent up in the mill-stream, was no wooers. Her mother had long been dead, and sooner let loose, than it subsided into its natu- her father, who held her as the very apple of ral peaceful character, and crept quietly along his eye, kept her carefully away from the the valley, meandering through the green rustic junketings, at which rural flirtations are woody meadows, as tranquil a trout stream, usually begun. Accordingly our village beauty as ever Izaak Walton angled in.
had reached the age of eighteen, without a Many a traveller has stayed his step to ad- lover. She had, indeed, had two offers; one mire the old buildings of Hatherford Mill, from a dashing horse-dealer, who having seen backed by its dark orchard, especially when her for five minutes one day, when her father its accompanying figures, the jolly miller sit-called her to admire a nag that he was cheapting before the door, pipe in mouth, and jugening, proposed for her that very night as they in hand, like one of Teniers' boors, the mealy were chaffering about the price, and took the miller's man with his white sack over his refusal in such dudgeon, that he would have shoulders, carefully descending the out-of-door left the house utterly inconsolable, had he not steps, and the miller's daughter, flitting about contrived to comfort himself by cheating the amongst her poultry, gave life and motion to offending papa, twice as much as he intended, the picture.
in his horse bargain. The other proffer was The scenery at the other end of the road from a staid, thick, sober, silent, middle-aged was equally attractive, in a different style. personage, who united the offices of school., Its principal feature was the great farm of the master and land-measurer, an old crony of the parish, an old manorial house, solid and vene- good miller's, in whose little parlour he had rable, with a magnificent clump of witch elms smoked his pipe regularly every Saturday in front of the porch, a suburb of out-build- evening for the last thirty years, and who
called him still from habit, “Young Sam kindness of an indulgent brother; was amused Robinson." He, one evening as they sat to- with her artlessness, and delighted with her gether smoking, outside the door, broke his gaiety. Gradually he began to find his own accustomed silence, with a formal demand of fireside lonely, and the parties of the neighhis comrade's permission to present himself bourhood boisterous; the little parlour of the as a suitor to Miss Katy; which permission miller formed just the happy medium, quietbeing, as soon as her father could speak for ness without solitude, and society without astonishment, civilly refused, Master Samuel dissipation - and thither he resorted accordRobinson addressed himself to his pipe again, ingly. His spaniel Ranger, taking possession with his wonted phlegm, played a manful part of the middle of the hearth-rug, just as comin emptying the ale-jug, and discussing the fortably as if in his master's own demesnes, Welsh rabbit, reappeared as usual, on the fol- and Katy's large tabby cat, a dog-hater by lowing Saturday, and to judge from his whole profession, not merely submitting to the demeanour, seemed to have entirely forgotten usurpation, but even ceasing to erect her brishis unlucky proposal.
tles on his approach. Soon after the rejection of this most philo- So the world waned for three months more. sophical of all discarded swains, an important One or two little miffs had, indeed, occurred change took place in the neighbourhood, in the between the parties ; once, for instance, at a shape of a new occupant of the great farm. fair held in the next town on the first of May, The quiet respectable old couple, who had re- Katy having been frightened at the lions and sided there for half a century, had erected the tigers painted outside a show, had nevertheless mossy sun-dial, and planted the great mulber- been half-led, half-forced into the booth to ry-tree, having determined to retire from busi- look at the real living monsters, by her unness, were succeeded by a new tenant from a gallant beau. This was a sad offence. But distant county, the youngest son of a gentle unluckily our village damsel had been so man brought up to agricultural pursuits, whose much entertained by some monkeys and parspirit and activity, his boldness in stocking rots on her first entrance, that she quite forgot and cropping, and his scientific management to be frightened, and afterwards when conof manures and machinery, formed the strong-fronted with the royal brutes, had taken so est possible contrast with the old-world prac- great a fancy to a beautiful panther, as to tices of his predecessors. All the village was wish to have him for a pet; so that this quarfull of admiration of the intelligent young rel passed away almost as soon as it began. farmer, Edward Grey; who being unmarried, The second was about the colour of a riband, and of a kindly and sociable disposition, soon an election riband; Katy having been much became familiar with high and low, and was caught by the graceful person and gracious nowhere a greater favourite than with his op- manners of a country candidate, who called posite neighbour, our good miller.
to request her father's vote, had taken upon Katy's first feeling towards her new ac- herself to canvass their opposite neighbour, quaintance, was an awe, altogether different and was exceedingly astonished to find her from her usual shame-facedness; a genuine request refused, on no better plea, than a diffear of the quickness and talent which broke ference from her favourite in political opinion, out not merely in his conversation, but in every and a previous promise to his opponent. The line of his acute and lively countenance. There little beauty, astonished at her want of inwas occasionally, a sudden laughing light in fluence, and rendered zealous by opposition, his hazel eye, and a very arch and momentary began to look grave, and parties would cersmile, now seen, and now gone, to which, be- tainly have run high at Hatherford, had not coming as most people thought them, she had her candidate put a stop to the dispute, by a particular aversion. In short, she paid the declining to come to the poll. So that the young farmer, for so he persisted in being quarrel was, per force, pretermitted. At last, called, the compliment of running away, as a real and serious anxiety overclouded Katy's soon as he came in sight, for three calendar innocent happiness; and as it often happens, months. At the end of that time, appearances in this world of contradictions, the grievance mended. First she began to loiter at the door; took the form of a gratified wish. then she staid in the room; then she listened; Of all her relations, her cousin Sophy Maythen she smiled; then she laughed outright; nard had long been her favourite. She was then she ventured to look up; then she began an intelligent unaffected young woman, a few to talk in her turn: and before another month years older than herself; the daughter of a had past, would prattle to Edward Grey as London tradesman, excellently brought up, fearlessly and freely, as to her own father. with a great deal of information and taste,
On his side, it was clear that the young and a total absence of airs and finery. In farmer, with all his elegance and refinement, person, she might almost be called plain, but his education and intelligence, liked nothing there was such a natural gentility about her ; better than this simple village lass. He her manners were so pleasing, and her conpassed over the little humours, proper to her versation so attractive, that few people after as a beauty and a spoiled child, with the passing an evening in her society remem